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Showing posts from May, 2006

The Making of an Atheist

According to atheists, the term "atheism" refers to the lack of belief in a deity or deities. The word derives from the Greek a(n)- , a negative prefix, and theos , meaning "god" or "deity". I only mention the origin of the word as a reminder that despite the negative connotations associated with it, the word itself has a very unspectacular meaning. The roots of my atheist beliefs began about twelve years ago, when I was a freshman in college. At the time I was a fairly typical Christian. I believed in God, heaven and hell, and had a passing knowledge of the Bible. I knew of its teachings through hearsay, the occasional trip to church, or memories from my mother reading it to me when I was young. At the very least, I knew that being bad meant I was going to hell, and being good meant I would make it to heaven. Life sure was simple. During that first year in college, one could hear me saying things like "the Bible says no sex before marriage" an

Eat the grapefruit to eat the grapefruit

In other words, when you eat a grapefruit (you may substitute a food you like here), do not think about what you're going to do afterwards, or what you did prior. Focus on the food, one piece at a time. When you are cutting a slice, you are cutting a slice. When you are chewing, you are chewing. Nothing else exists in that moment. The idea is very simple, but very difficult to put into practice. More often than not, I forget to practice mindfulness. This is a cornerstone of Buddhism: mindfulness, or living in the present moment. This blog post is inspired by the writings of Thich Nhat Hanh in the book The Miracle of Mindfulness , which is ultimately based on the Buddhist sutra on the foundations of mindfulness .

An alien superpower suit, an FBI agent, and a schoolteacher

If you had to make an educated guess, what would you say these three elements have in common? If you guessed "They are the ingredients for a really bizarre TV show from the early eighties", you'd be exactly right. Today, inspired by an IM conversation with Kandis , I ordered the first season of The Greatest American Hero on DVD from Amazon.com . I remember watching the show as a kid, but since I'm thirty now, my memories are a bit fuzzy. What a great way to revisit my childhood years! It's going to be totally awesome.

Coked Out

Three sixteen-ounce cups of coke and five cups of green tea into the day, I still feel as groggy as when I woke up this morning. It sure is tough to picture myself doing three sets each of squats and deadlifts later today. O, three day weekend, please come quickly!

Ambien

Last week, I started taking Ambien . It knocks me out flat in fifteen minutes, and gives me about five solid hours of sleep. It's almost scary how quickly and deeply it knocks me out, and reminds me of the couple of times I've been anesthetized for minor surgeries (not quite as fast-acting, though). I still have trouble getting a full eight hours' sleep, but my new strategy is to take half a pill when I wake up at 3am. That takes me through until about 6:30am. I've read some scary things about Ambien, but have yet to experience anything (of which I'm aware) strange myself.

Hiatus

I took off from posting any entries for a few days for two reasons: I haven't had anything of much substance to stay. The world is as screwed up as ever, but I haven't felt like I can say much that hasn't already been said. Does anyone read this? In fact, now might be a good time to take an informal poll. If you have read this blog at least once, please comment on this post. I'd like to exclude family and friends from here, as I know many of them read it. I'm interested in seeing how many people I don't know actually visit. The results may determine whether this blog will continue or not.
This interview with a british man who hacked into U.S. government computers looking for evidence of UFOs is quite fascinating. "Were you the only hacker to make it past the slightly lower-than-expected lines of defence?" "Yes, exactly, there were no lines of defence. There was a permanent tenancy of foreign hackers. You could run a command when you were on the machine that showed connections from all over the world, check the IP address to see if it was another military base or whatever, and it wasn't." It appears he found what he was seeking: There was a group called the Disclosure Project. They published a book which had 400 expert witnesses ranging from civilian air traffic controllers, through military radar operators, right up to the chaps who were responsible for whether or not to launch nuclear missiles. They are some very credible, relied upon people, all saying yes, there is UFO technology, there's anti-gravity, there's free energy, and it&#

A day in the life: 5/3/2006

3:36 AM: Awake 3:36-5:20: Lay in bed awake, think about work 5:20-7:00: Work, write code 7:00-7:45: Feed dog, eat breakfast, shower 7:45-9:30: Write code 9:30-9:35: snack 9:35-12:00 PM: Write code ------------------------ 12:00-12:15: Quick lunch 12:15-12:51: Finish coding task 12:51-1:00: Write email stating task has been completed 1:00-1:30: Grocery store trip to pick up a few essentials 1:30-5:00: Work, code, and decipher next task. 5:00: Feed dog 5:00-7:00: Dismantle old computer desk, move to garage, assemble new computer desk 7:00-7:30: Dinner 7:30-8:00: Hook all electronic equipment back up, in office, arrange office to fit new desk 8:00-9:00: Watch "Lost", drink a little wine 9:00-10:15: Enjoy new office setup 10:15: Go to bed, fall asleep

Where the hell are my fajitas?

Today was the "Day without Immigrants" rally in Austin, and my plans for dinner at a local Mexican restaurant were foiled. As such, I do not support any legislation that would criminalize illegal immigrants. I have a suspicion that said legislation would not eliminate the presence of illegal immigrants. People have a way of acquiring and obtaining that which they perceive to be essential, whether it is illegal or not. I'm reminded of the war on drugs. How's that going these days?